Day 30

trophy

Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2009. Last day of my challenge. Alright, I made it. What happens next?

My weight did not change much, I’m currently at 69.7kg (153.7 lbs), but I believe my face looks better. Everyone knows alcohol makes us swell. A friend told me I look thinner, which supports that theory, since I haven’t lost much weight.

I made some decisions towards drinking. I want to drink only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I mean, 3 times a week at maximum, which does not imply that I will HAVE to drink on 3 days every week.  If I drink in a special day, I would compensate it by not drinking on Friday the same week, for example. But this is only a plan.

For those who drink frequently and THINK everything is under control, I suggest that you go for a similar challenge. If you think 30 days are too much, try one or two weeks. Are you sure you can make it? You don’t need to answer me that, just make yourself that same question.

For those who never drank, I can say that alcohol is a very cool and socially accepted drug. If you decide to start using it, you will need to learn how to control it, some thing that many people just can’t do it. You need serious RESPONSIBILITY. If you can’t, give it up.

For the “newbiews”, here’s a cartoon from Savage Chickens wemsite about this subject.

chickenlegal

Thanks for everybody who supported me and who now share the pleasure of this WIN!

Anúncios
Published in: on novembro 6, 2009 at 11:50 am  Comments (1)  

Day 29

Jack-Daniels-Tennessee-Whiskey-lg.jpg

I woke up with muscle pain, a sore throat and some other symptoms that indicate the flu or some other virus. At least it doesn’t seem to be the swine flu, because I didn’t have most of its differential symptoms. So I tried to eat well and drink a lot of water.

I got a bottle of my favorite Whiskey, Jack Daniels (The traditional “Old No 7”)  as a gift .  It seems that this one will last much longer than usual, since my drinking rhythm will be drastically slower. But it will be a pleasure to taste and smell that liquid again, now with the adequate moderation.

Only one day left to my deadline, and it looks like everyone who didn’t believe I would make it now accept my victory. I think the low number of visitors to the blog lately reflects that.

Published in: on novembro 4, 2009 at 9:25 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 28

mango-juice

A walk along Paulista Avenue with Vagner and Pablo, lots of jokes, coffee, bookstores and chatting about many subjects. A true “Sex In The City”, male version. I ended my day with a great mango juite and a not so great movie, “Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl“. It started great but developed and ended really bad. I wouldn’t recommend it.

2 days left!

Published in: on novembro 3, 2009 at 7:03 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 27

christian-daiquiri

I was having some fun searching for this blog in Google when I accidentally found the blog of a guy that had been doing the opposite of me. His name is Christian and he was about to turn 30 without any alcoholic drink, then he decided to spend 30 days drinking to try to find out what is all this fuzz about alcohol. In fact he didn’t drink every single day but he tried a great range of drinks. His blog is 30 Days Of Drinking.

Curiously, his experiences were very similar to mine, for example the concern regarding the friends and relatives reaction towards his decision. I found it really interesting to make a comparison between our experiences.

I go the picture above from his blog. According to him, that is the way he felt when he drank daiquiri.

Published in: on novembro 3, 2009 at 6:48 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 26

Double Take_Poster2

Once again I went out with Pablo to watch another movie from the Sao Paulo International Festival. The chosen one was Johan Grimonprez’s “Double Take”. It’s a bunch of talks by Alfred Hitchcock  about a meet with a double, conspiracy theories, Cold War and Fidel Castro. In the middle of it I found some parts a little boring but after distilling the scenes in my mind I found it great and I recommend it.

But what does it have to do with alcohol? Well, I have said that I don’t drink while watching movies.

Later at night Marcita and Vagner joined us for a jazz gig at JazzNosFundos. It’s a very cozy place located at the back of a parking lot in Sao Paulo. The night was really hot and my stomach complained about the coke and the tomato juice I had. Besides, they charged mefor the tomato juice more than it would be for a whisky shot (they didn’t have that item in the menu, so they charged me for a Bloody Mary instead). So I decided to drink something different and I tried the alcohol-free Erdinger. I had decided not to drink any alcohol-free beer anymore but among the choices I had, that was my best bet. And after that, I changed my opinion about that kind of beer. It’s really nice. Here it is:

alkoholfrei

Published in: on novembro 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 25

beertower

Friday, another band practice. After that we stopped by a bar nearby. They went for a “beer tower” while I stood there watching and consuming the huge amount of sugar contained in soda.

Published in: on novembro 1, 2009 at 11:53 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 24

Spain-Camino-de-Santiago-608

The picture above shows one of the Camino de Santiago route. During that journey, the pilgrim experiences situations that make him rethink his attitudes towards and opinions about life.

He learns to lead a simple life, with few possessions, and he needs to resign the comfort he is used to have in his routine.

After coming back from one of those experiences, he certainly won’t keep living in such extreme simplicity, but he will definitely be changed forever.

During this period of time I learned to live without something that was part of my routine. The lessons I’ve been learning changed something in me. I don’t need to stop drinking for good, but now I am more aware of what alcohol means to me.

Published in: on outubro 31, 2009 at 12:11 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 23

manet34

What kind of drinker are you?

Nowadays it’s easy to find information about health. In the past, we needed to trust 100% on our physicians. Some times we would see another doctor to get  a second opinion. But today we can take a look at health portals to find answers for some questions regarding diseases and symptoms.

A soucre that I always use is the Yahoo Health Portal. I reproduce below some parts of the articla on alcohol abuse and dependence.

Signs of alcohol abuse

  • You have problems at work or school because of your drinking. These may include being late or absent, being injured at work, and not doing your job or schoolwork as well as you can.
  • You drink in dangerous situations, such as before or while driving a car.
  • You have blackouts. This means that after a drinking episode you cannot remember what happened while you were drinking.
  • You have legal problems because of your drinking, such as being arrested for harming someone or driving while drunk (intoxicated).
  • You get hurt or you hurt someone else when you are drinking.
  • You continue to drink despite health problems that are caused or made worse by alcohol use, such as liver disease (cirrhosis).
  • Your friends or family members are worried about your drinking.

Signs of alcohol dependence or addiction:

  • You cannot quit drinking or control how much you drink. You drink more often than you want to, or you drink larger amounts than you want to.
  • You need to drink more to get the same effect.
  • You have withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking. These include feeling sick to your stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking, or you have given up other activities so you can drink.
  • You have tried unsuccessfully to quit drinking or to cut back the amount you drink.
  • You continue to drink even though it harms your relationships and causes you to develop physical problems.

Other signs of possible trouble with alcohol include the following:

  • You drink in the morning, are drunk often for long periods of time, or drink alone.
  • You change what you drink, such as switching from beer to wine because you think that doing this will help you drink less or keep you from getting drunk.
  • You feel guilty after drinking.
  • You make excuses for your drinking or do things to hide your drinking, such as buying alcohol at different stores.
  • You worry that you won’t get enough alcohol for an evening or weekend.
  • You have physical signs of alcohol dependence, such as weight loss, a sore or upset stomach (gastritis), or redness of the nose and cheeks.

The image above is Edouard Manet’s painting “The Absinthe Drinker. Absinth is a highly alcoholic beverage that is forbidden in several countries today. Some artists who enjoyed it decided to represent it in their artwork. Besides Manet, Edgar Degas and also Pablo Picasso painted their “Absynth Drinkers”.

Published in: on outubro 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 22

Watermelon

After another busy day at work and a nice Kung Fu class the only drinks that I want are watermelon juice and WATER.

My weight today: 68.7kg (151.4 lb). That means I lost almost 2 kg (4 lb) in 22 days. Not sure if it has something to do with the lack of alcohol. Who knows…

Published in: on outubro 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 21

men_at_work_sign

Work, work, work. Ultra-busy Monday. It’s been hard to find inspiration and time to write about alcohol lately. Many things have been happening, but to tell the truth it seems that alcohol is now out of my routine. I don’t regret on seeing people drinking.

I caught myself again thinking about the days following the end of my challenge. I want to taste a good cold beer. It will probably be one Hoegaargen. Or two.

Published in: on outubro 27, 2009 at 10:10 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 20

Day 20, a hot Sunday. I spent it organizing some stuff and doing backups. No big news.

Published in: on outubro 27, 2009 at 9:53 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 19

thirst_park_chan_wook

I arrived home really late, and I spent the whole morning in bed. In that sunny afternoon I just “needed” a cold beer, so I had alcohol-free Liber. Liber is the only brazilian beer that is REALLY alcohol-free, it’s 0%. That must be the reason I found it TERRIBLE. You can’t even  create foam! I don’t recommend that. I’d rather drink cold piss. A walk through Paulista Avenue and later a dart-trhowing game at home with my friends Pablo and Vagner. After that we went to the movies for the Sao Paulo International Film Festival. With so many choices I decided to choose by the director’s name. So we watched “Thirst” (“Bakjwi”) from Park Chan-Wook.  It’s no “Oldboy” but it was really cool to see the magnificent work of this director again. I definitely recommend it!

Published in: on outubro 27, 2009 at 9:48 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 18

lsddoorway

“Lightheadedness, dizziness, finger and mouth numbness”. Syptoms of alcohol? LSD? No! Hyperventilation. Oxigen OD.

One question that caught my attention in the BBC doc was about the reasons to drink. Of course people don’t drink searching for a hangover. They want a special feeling. Is that possible to get the same feeling alcohol gives without drinking?

The night of Day 18 I went to a Fuzzfaces band gig at Astronete. Obviously it was something weird, my first time there while drinking only spicy tomato juice (which is delicious and much cheaper than alcohol drinks). I then decided to do an experiment to myself, trying to get the same effect as that with alchool but with no drink. So I tried hyperventilation, which consists in take deep breaths in sequence, leaving the blood saturated with oxygen. That results in the syptoms above. I did that several times through the night and I’m convinced that I got really “drunk”. But its effects don’t last long. If you want to keep yourself “drunk” you need to repeat the process every 10 or 15 minutes. I found that really interesting.

Hiperventilation is part of the Holotropic Breathing process, created by Doctor Stanislav Grof, known by his experiments with LSD. He developed that method as a way to get the same effects of LSD but without its negative side effects.

Oh, I forgot to say, the gig was great, class A rock and roll, I definetely recommend it!

lsddoorway

“Sensação de estar flutuando, tontura, formigamento na ponta dos dedos e ao redor da boca”. Sintomas de álcool? LSD?  Não! Hiperventilação. Overdose de oxigênio.

Uma coisa que me chamou atenção no documentário da BBC foi a pergunta sobre os motivos para beber. Obviamente as pessoas que bebem não procuram uma ressaca. Elas buscam uma sensação diferente. Será possível obter a sensação que o álcool dá sem precisar beber?

Na noite do dia 18 fui a um show da banda Fuzzfaces no Astronete. Obviamente foi uma coisa atípica, a minha primeira vez lá bebendo apenas suco de tomate temperado (que é delicioso e MUITO mais barato que os drinks alcoólicos). Resolvi fazer uma experiência comigo mesmo, tentar conseguir o efeito do álcool sem beber. Então tentei a hiperventilação, que consiste em respirar fundo seguidamente, deixando o sangue saturado de oxigênio. isto provoca os sintomas citados acima. Executei isto algumas vezes durante a noite, e estou convencido de que fiquei “bêbado” mesmo. Mas o efeito passa rápido. Se quiser se manter “bêbado” precisa repetir a cada 10 minutos, umas 10 a 15 respirações fundas. Achei isto muito interessante.

A hiperventilação é parte do processo de Respiração Holotrópica, criado pelo Dr Stanislav Grof, conhecido por suas experiências com o LSD. Ele criou este método justamente como uma forma de se obter os efeitos agradáveis do LSD sem os efeitos colaterais negativos.

Ah, esqueci de mencionar. O show foi excelente, rock and roll classe A, recomendo!

Published in: on outubro 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 17

NOTE: My “Day 15” post talked about BBC’s “Do I Drink Too Much?” doc. In my text I reproduced WITH QUOTES some parts of the movie script. I don’t know why, some people got it wrong and thought I was talking about my father on item 3). It’s nothing about it, that is the doc man talking about HIS father, whom had serious drinking problem.

Day 17 was a busy day at work, and I ended it with a Kung Fu class and band practice right after that. So, a lot of things happened, but I didn’t have any time to think about alcohol, which is the subject of this journal.

Published in: on outubro 24, 2009 at 12:01 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 16

abstract

No news. No words.

Published in: on outubro 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 15

Horizon-Do-I-Drink-Too-Much-Cover

15 days. Looking at the numbers only, we can say I’m at the middle of my way to win the challenge. But there are three things that make me believe I’m not at 50%:

  • I feel like the worst has gone, so I have a feeling that the next 15 days will be easier than the first round. So it’s like I’m beyond those 50%. Say, 70%.
  • Since I feel stronger, I think I could easily extend my challenge to stay more days with no drink. Let’s say 60 days. In that case, I would be at 25%.
  • My challenge is to stay 30 days without drinking. So if I stay 29 days sober and drink at the thirtiest day it is a FAIL. It’s the kind of ALL or NOTHING challenge.

Leo showed me an  EXCELLENT doc from BBC produced in 2009 called “Do I Drink Too Much?”. In 1 hour they analyze the effects of alcohol in our system, tendencies to alcoholism, risks involved, the presence of alcohol in our daily routine and they also raise some good questions. I strongly recommend it. Thanks Leo! Here are some chunks of the movie script for reflection:

1) “I’ve stood here for a minute thinking about this liver test that I’m going to have. And…it occurs to me that, on the one hand, it’s likely to be absolutely fine and on the other hand, what if it’s not OK? I’m not sure if I’m prepared for that. And I know I’m not prepared for a doctor to tell me that I have to stop drinking.  That’s quite a shocking thought.”

2) “I don’t think it strikes you at the time how often you’re drinking and how much you are until you try to stop. That’s what happened to me – I tried to stop.”

3) “What also starts to slowly change is the amount you’d need to drink to get the same effect. An alcoholic isn’t just created overnight. It seems to take years of subtle incremental changes. That was really what happened in the case of my father.  Changes occurred gradually over time.  His drinking became more and more intensive and sustained and problematic. No-one sets out to be an alcoholic and he certainly didn’t. It just happened.”

This movie can be downloaded through torrent and you can get the english subtitles from mvgoup.org website.

Note: I’ve started an effort to translate the subtitles to portuguese. If you speak portuguese and not english, please wait until a portuguese version is available. If you do speak portuguese and would like to help with the translation, please leve a comment here with your email (for your safety, it won’t be published) and I will contact you.

Published in: on outubro 21, 2009 at 9:13 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 14

arbeit

“Arbeit macht frei .”

Work brings freedom. How many hours of work, study and leisure do we lose because of the consequences of drinking alcohol? They use to say everything has its price, but we need to always ask if it’s worth doing that.

Without a hangover and sleeping better, we have more spare time to read something interesting, work extra hours to increase the income, dedicate more time to our family or simply to THINK. Work to increase out life quality. Work to change something in the world.

Day 14 was one more regular day in the life of a FREE man.

Published in: on outubro 20, 2009 at 9:42 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 13

lonely-drunk

Dinner lasted until around 4am (we lost 1 hour because of DST), so I spent the whole morning sleeping.

A friend paid a visit and as soon as he saw my almost-finished Jack Daniels bottle he said: “that bottle is looking at me.” I got the message immediately and I gave him that last shot left. Jack Daniels is my favorite whisky and before giving him the glass I smelled it. That perfume is really good.

We went out to the movies to watch “District 9”. I liked that, although I’m not a fan of aliens. I prefer zombies.

Back home I found an interesting article about quitting alcohol. In that article I found other cool posts from the same guy:

Published in: on outubro 19, 2009 at 10:01 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 12

beer_p

Diniz asked me for a review of the Velhas Virgens concert. Well, analyzing what I saw there it was really good, but since I did not participate (danced, jumped, screamed), I’m not sure if it was good. I’m still learning to live without alcohol.

I guess I am getting stronger each day against the temptation of drinking. I decided to accept a new invitation for a diner+wine with friends. Before that, I had a band practice. Inside the practice room, a fridge full of drinks available. For the first time in a while I played the drums without drinking alcohol. I had just 2 cans of soda.  After that we had a terrible experience with traffic because of a soccer game nearby, so we needed to stop by a bar to wait for it to get better. The guys had beer and I had an alcohol-free beer for the first time in my life. New questions came up to my mind.

I arrived  a little late for the dinner but in time to taste the delicious food and a great cake + ice cream for dessert (I had taken the ice cream).

Everybody says I’m a funny person, specially when I drink. I like to tell jokes and someone asked me what I had drank. To me it was a good thing, that meant I was being the same funny person, but WITHOUT ALCOHOL.

I was planning on organizing a party for celebrating the end of those 30 days. The party would start Friday night and would last until the next day. We would have all drinks I missed during the 30 days.

In my mind I had an image of my friends arriving Friday night and drinking with me, celebrating, singing and playing the guitar, everybody drunk and leaving my place at daylight on Saturday.

But I’m afraid that image is fading…

Published in: on outubro 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 11

inferno

Velhas Virgens gig at Inferno Club.That was a hard test. True hell. But I passed. A night full of rock and roll and songs about alcohol and women. A big party made for people to get drunk and joyful.

And me on coke and tomato juice. I almost quit, I started to think it was not worth such an effort, that I was wasting time with useless things and if I knew I was going to die in 48 hours I would regret not to having drunk beers and tequilas. “Why the hell did I say 30 days? Wouldn’t 10 be enough?” I thought.

I think one thing that held me was knowing that there were two or three people reading this and hoping not to find a new “Day 01” again. People doing a countdown and who want to know about my n-th day.

I’m not sure if that would have been better if I stayed at home instead of going to the concert. Because I just couldn’t stand being there without drinking anything.

Ignorance is bliss. What’s the advantage of being lucid in such a mad world?

Published in: on outubro 17, 2009 at 5:15 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 10

wine

RIIIING.

– Hello.
– Hi. I was thinking of doing something, maybe the movies. Have you watched Tarantino’s newest, “Inglorious Basterds”?
– Yeah, I’ve seen it. I’m a Tarantino fan and I was anxious for this film. I loved it.
– Mmm… We could make one of those dinners at my place, we can call everyone and…
– Just a note: I’m not drinking. I started a challenge.
– Really? And how’s that?
– I decided to stay 30 days without drinking. I’ve also created a blog or that.
– …

End of chat.

I like wines and I always have some at home ready to be tasted. There is a group of friends that is used to get together to cook, drink wine and talk a lot. This time I ran out of choices. OK, you can think I could go there and not drink anything. But it’s about a ritual. The ritual is food, wine and talk. I’d rather not go. I miss my wines.

A movie theater is one of the places where I think people don’t have fun drinking. I love the cinema and I need to pay full attention to the screen. I’ve never understood what’s so interesting in dating in the theater. You sit at the side of the other person, you can’t even hug him/her. A movie theater is a comfortable place to watch a movie, not to make out. Besides, if I drink I will have to leave for the bathroom some time in the middle of the movie, and I HATE to miss 1 minute of it.

Without the wine and the movies, I accepted the invitation of my friend Vagner to watch a DVD he had just bought. We had never heard about that movie, but we got a wonderful surprise when we watched it. It’s great, and it also has Takashi Miike in a cameo appearance.  The movie is Yasuo Inoue’s “Neighbor No. 13” (in japanese,  “Rinjin 13-go”). I strongly recommend it. Takashi Miike, if you don’t know him, is one of Tarantino’s idols. And obviously, the idol of my idol is my idol too. One film from Miike that I recommend: “Dead or Alive”.

In general, I’m feeling very well. Of course I’m sorry I can’t drink a wine or beers with friends. But everything has its price, and I think what I am getting is worth the sacrifice.

Published in: on outubro 16, 2009 at 10:44 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 09

mugcake

Flavio told me my pillow from the last post is ugly (yes, it’s a picture of my real pillow). But it’s the one that gave me the best night over the last days (the pillow, not Flavio!). I finally could sleep well, and my day was very productive.

At night Gustavo invited me to his dinner party. Beef stroganoff. Obviously, before, after and while we were eating, plenty of ALCOHOL. Imported beers, brandy, vodka. To me, as usual, coke and water. I found out that they used a little bit of brandy in the recipe, but I believe it was gone during the cooking process, so it didn’t spoil my “diet”.

Someone tried to convince me towards drinking, I was given a glass of cold beer, but I refused. The funniest thing in the night was when they found a LEGAL BLACK HOLE in my challenge. I said I would stay 30 DAYS without drinking. So, I could drink without any restrictions AT NIGHT. That way, I could easily stay 200 days without drinking! LOL.

My day ended with a mugcake. This picture is not of my mugcake, that’s because I only had the idea of taking a picture after I had finished mine. I would never own a Spounge Bob mug! My cake was made in my favorite mug – the Ramones one. You can read “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” on it.

Published in: on outubro 15, 2009 at 2:28 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 08

cama

Back to work after a holiday. Just a regular day. I’m asleep and that bothers me, my face shows me how tired I am. I look like a drunk just arrived home from a bar! I hope I can sleep well tonight. I need that.

Flavio asked me about what I was going to do after I accomplish this mission. I immediately replied: drink something. But he told me he was not talking about the very “day after”, he was asking if I was going to change something in general. I told him I didn’t know what was going to happen, but SOMETHING would  do happen, because my latest experiences WERE ALREADY changing something in me. It’s giving me a new view, from outside the action. In a party, one arrives talking gently and feeling well. Then he starts to drink and to speak louder, laugh more, and starts to find it difficult to walk and to hold things. And he walks away like a zombie. I was that person. I am that person. And in the last party I went I was not that person, I was a mere spectator, watching that person transform himself. It’s NOT the most beautiful scene I’ve ever seen.

Some people got worried because I took some time to post Day 06. They thought I had succumbed and they stayed under suspense. The following period after those 30 days “under parole”” are a mystery TO ME, too. Want to find out what is going to happen? Stay tuned!

Published in: on outubro 14, 2009 at 10:56 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 07

persuasion

It’s Monday but it looks like Sunday, because it’s a holiday.

One more bad night, I didn’t sleep well. I’m not sure if it has someting to do with the fact that I stopped drinking. I spent the day with friends. We were thinking of something to do and someone suggested a bar. They agreed to exchange that for a movie because of my situation. Great.

After the movies I caught the train to go visit my dear brother who lives in Santo Andre, a town nearby. Before getting into the train station I passed by a small bookstore to get a book to read. There were only a few in english, and I chose one by the thickness and the cover. I didn’t want something too big. Later in the train I realized the title of the book: it’s Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”. Maybe destin is playing tricks on me again. But after 20 pages I found it a little boring. Anyway I’ll try to read more and I hope it gets better.

This day looked shorter than usual. That’s great, because regardless of that I’m counting it ONE MORE DAY.

Published in: on outubro 13, 2009 at 1:04 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 06

Sunday morning was really hot and since Pinho had slept over, we went for a walk through Republica Square, then a mall, then a bookstore. Around 3pm we split, he went for a lunch with Walter and I needed to get ready for the birthday party that would happen a couple of hours later.

That was my biggest challenge until now. As soon as I got there they offered be a glass of beer, but I refused it and I had to keep telling excuses for my denial. At first I said I just didn’t want to drink, then I ended up saying that I was on medication and I couldn’t drink alcohol. That turned things easier for me to get rid if the attempts to give me some drink.

The party was really exciting, barbecue, people singing and dancing. And I was watching the whole thing like a movie or something. I could have some fun but I kind of lost the rhythm when people started to get high. I became an alien there. Besides the cold beer, there were several choices of drinks I love, including tequila. I had a soda but I don’t like it too much because of the sugar, so I made myself a fake drink with lemons, ice cubes and water.

For the first time in a while I came back home before the last invitee, and driving (I don’t drive when I drink).

Published in: on outubro 13, 2009 at 12:28 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 05

revista

(magazine cover – main subject: “Alcohol – is beer ok? What about a glass of wine every day, should we? Find what specialists say about the impact of alcohol  on your health”)

Saturday, “meeting with friends in a bar” test.

I decided to organize the mess at home and I took some time to publish some ads to sell the stuff I don’t use anymore. Turn useless things into money. I thought it was going to be a regular day at home but at 2pm I received a phone call from Walter telling me that Pinho (also an old friend) was in town and they wanted to meet me in a bar. Sure I wanted to see them both, and I quickly got changed and left.

We spent hours talking, they were drinking draft beer and I had only a can of soda. We talked about lots of things, including my challenge. It was cool to see them OK with that and also supporting me in my plans. From there, Pinho and I went to the movies to see the new Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”, which ended around midnight. Then we walked down Augusta Street (my favorite bars-and-clubs territory) towards Estadao, a traditional snack bar where drunks go to eat something before heading back home.

Three curious notes:

1) I don’t remember the last time I walked through the whole Augusta St while being totally sober
2) I didn’t feel the slightest desire to drink anything
3) There was a magazines stand by Estadao’s front door, and the first magazine I looked at was a vegetarian magazine. The cover page showed an article about ALCOHOL. It must be some kind of a joke, huh?

So I passed the “old friends reunion in a bar” test.

I decided to follow the suggestion of my friend Diniz in the comments, and I’ll try to use an image that represents each day. Today I chose that magazine cover.

Published in: on outubro 11, 2009 at 3:10 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 04

Forth day, Friday.

Would you be my friend if I didn’t drink?

Before going to bed I was invited to a wine & jazz concert in Vila Madalena. I could have gone to enjoy the music without drinking anything, but I preferred to stay at home.

In the previous post I joked on dreaming about beer mugs and so. But in the night between days 3 and 4 it happened. I was in the middle of a street party and my cell phone rang. It was Daniel, one of my bike buddies: “hey I’m with other bikers, we are riding around and  we decided to stop by for some beers. If you want to join us, just get your bike and come!”. I know he was sure I WAS going to go, obviously because I never said no to such an invitation. I don’t remember what I said, this scene was cut (why the hell the “dream directors” cut scenes in the middle that way?). Looking at the crowd I found Marcio, a friend of mine who’s living in another city. I called him and he was really happy to see me and fired: “Hey, good to see you, let’s get a BEER and you tell me the news!”

“Man I’m not drinking”, I said. Funny face. “What??? What the hell is that?”. “Yeah, man, I decided to go for a break, 30 days without drinking. There are still 27 left”. The scene was cut again.

I woke up thinking and coming to a conclusion that my whole social circle is alcoholic. The only exception is Giuliano, guitar player in my band.

At night I was thoughtful and I didn’t want to go anywhere, and the idea of getting something to drink was quickly killed by more pushups. This time there were 80, 4x 20 (I’m getting good at it!). Alvaro called me and decided to drop by my place. I didn’t have any beer in the fridge, only a bottle of vodka in the freezer (have you ever tried “frozen” vodka? It’s really nice!). I poured 2 shots in a short glass for him. For me, same glass but two shots of WATER. I tried to fool him by asking him to choose one. Funny, the two glasses, side by side, look identical. But the difference from one to another is huge.

We then watched a DVD (“The Prestige”) and after that we talked about Tesla, experiments with electricity, magnetism, perpetual motion and other stuff.

And one more day is gone.

Published in: on outubro 10, 2009 at 12:01 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 03

If drugs were something bad nobody would use it. They use it because, despite of the drawbacks, they get some benefit or pleasure. But everything has its price. Some people just like drinking, others like sugar, chocolate, fried food, white bread. The price to pay for excess can be a damaged liver, high cholesterol level, high blood pressure. But everybody knows all that stuff. Everybody also knows that we need to excercise frequently, sleep well, avoid stress.

I don’t eat sugar (except when eventually I eat some sweet food or drink soda). I ride my bike almost every day, I sold my car three years ago and I walk a lot. I don’t eat fried food and only use extra virgin olive oil. I eat lots of fruits, salads, vegetables in general, and I drink a lot of  water during the day. I have some health credit, maybe more than YOU. So before criticizing those who like to drink, think about the poison disguised in FOOD you may be eating every day.

I’m feeling well today. No, I haven’t dreamt about beer mugs or whisky bottles! But there are still 27 days left.

My friend Spencer liked the idea of this blog and shared it on  his twitter. That guy is a good beer-and-party buddy. The day of Cury‘s book launch party in Sao Paulo was remarkably awesome.

I ended my day with people asking me more questions about the reasons for this challenge and some advice about not caring about other’s opinions. But what I want is to rethink my opinion about myself and to measure the impact of alcohol (or its absence) in my life.

Published in: on outubro 9, 2009 at 9:14 am  Deixe um comentário  

Day 02

I got a little confused about my own decision of calling the first 24 hours “Day zero”. It must have been the effect of alcohol (just kidding LOL). The third 24-hour period ended at 3am this morning, so I’ll try to make some adjustments by writing one more post today before going to bed.

I got a “supporting” message from my beer-and-party buddy Gustavo, see:
Screenshot-Gustavo

Thanks Gustavo LOL!

I think just because I was trying to drink NO ALCOHOL AT ALL it makes me want to, and I arrived home thinking about it. A beer to relax before bed causes no harm to anyone. But obviously I couldn’t let this happen. I had to be tough on myself. It reminded me those movies where the guy is arrested and then puts all his anger and fury into working out. So I decided to do some push ups. 4 rounds of 15.

Not drinking has other consequences, like more money left (since I don’t spend it in bars) and more time to THINK. And I did think a lot. Among thoughts, excitement because of the workout and the lack of something to help me sleep, I went to bed at 3:30am.

Gustavo took the chance to share one movie clip of a film produced by his brother, curiously it’s about alcoholism.

Other suggestions I received for those times I think of drinking: coffee, tea, jogging.

A quick note: this is MY journal. I don’t want to prove anything to anyone, except to myself. And maybe to one more person. I don’t care if you think I’m being radical, or if this is all BS. I really hope it IS BS. By letting this public, I think that may help someone who is going through a similar experience. That’s why I’m writing in two languages (you can choose a language in the menu on the right, under Categories).

Published in: on outubro 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 01

Hey, what did you expect me to write today? That I was crying and shivering? ha ha no! I woke up feeling OK.
No big news. I’m sure my major problem is still to come. I’ve been planning to go to a concert of one of my favorite local bands: Velhas Virgens (it means “Old Virgins” – be careful to open this site, it opens playing music!) on Oct 16th. And this will be my greatest challenge, since the band leader sings with a beer in his hands and the lyrics are all about sex, beer and women!

I’ve received several alcohol-like invitations through the whole day. A jazz concert near home, a wine with friends, a lunch party on saturday and a birthday party on Sunday night (Monday will be a local holiday). When I think about those events, I immediately think about the matching drinks. Whisky for Jazz, Wine at lunch with a good Amarula cream liqueur for dessert. Birthday party matches beer. In fact, it looks like my life is surrounded by alcohol. Or maybe it’s the alcohol that orbits around me?

My weight today: 69.7kg (153.7lb)

Published in: on outubro 7, 2009 at 8:34 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Day 00

The first 24 hours will hit at 3am, so I decided to call this post “Day Zero”.

Last night I had band practice in a studio. We’ve been playing for little time now but we decided to have it recorded to check how we were doing. I always get a little nervous during recording sessions because I’m afraid of making mistakes so to get a little “lighter” I had some shots of vodka (I hate cocktails, I prefer to drink it pure). When I arrived at home I met a couple of friends.  I didn’t have any beer in the fridge so I grabbed my bike to go to the supermarket and buy some beers. So I drank some beers and a little more vodka.

I woke up late and found out that I had missed a work meeting. Preventing my night parties to have any impact on my job has always been my goal. I know I do it well, because I always receive good feedback from colleagues and my boss. I could compensate the 3 hours I missed just by working until later at night, but I know I’ll never get back the meeting I missed.

I also found out that I said a bunch of stuff and did lots of things that I just can’t remember.

I spent he whole day feeling dizzy because of the alcohol, and I only around 8pm I could feel it was gone. Nevertheless, I could complete my job tasks. I don’t puke or get sick because of alcohol for quite some time now. This is great because I can then drink a lot and still wake up feeling well the next day. But it’s for sure something that tells me my system is getting used to it. In other words, alcohol is already part of myself. And this is not beautiful.

I suspect that this “alcohol-free” diet will make me lose some weight, so I’ll be posting my weight too. Today:  70.5 kg (155.4 lb).

Published in: on outubro 6, 2009 at 9:41 pm  Deixe um comentário  

Starting the challenge

I am 35 years old and I’ve been drinking  since I was 16. I love alcohol, and I feel good drinking. I know it’s a drug and that it may cause some damage to my system, but it also gives me a good thing, I become less shy and it’s a great social integration tool. I prefer wine, beer and whisky, but I also drink tequilla, vodka, cachaca and rum.

Someone next to me used the word alcoholic, and I found it really strange. To me, alcoholic is the person who wakes up in the morning and sips a drink, I’ve never done that! But some things that happened to me over the last 12 months made me rethink that.

Once I said I would spend a whole week without drinking to prove I had the control over myself. I failed. I couldn’t do that. When I noticed, I was holding a glass, and it was the second day!

Now I’m starting a new challenge. 30 days without drinking. And I’ll write about this experience in this blog. Will I succeed? If you want to follow me in this journey, feel free to visit. I’m planning on writing a new post each day.

Published in: on outubro 6, 2009 at 9:07 pm  Deixe um comentário